Thursday, May 30, 2024

Business Briefs for 12-20-2022

by Associated Press

Wells Fargo to pay $3.7B over consumer law violations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3.7 billion to settle charges that it harmed consumers by charging illegal fees and interest on auto loans and mortgages, as well as incorrectly applied overdraft fees against savings and checking accounts. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday ordered Wells to repay $2 billion to consumers and enacted a $1.7 billion penalty against the bank. It’s the largest fine to date against Wells, which has spent years trying to rehabilitate itself after a series of scandals tied to its sales practices. The bank remains under supervision of the Federal Reserve.

Trump’s tax returns to be discussed by congressional panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to publicly release years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. The meeting could be the last opportunity for Democrats to disclose information about Trump’s filings as Republicans prepare to take control of Congress next year. Committee Chairman Richard Neal has kept close hold on the panel’s actions, but pressure is high on its members to make their findings public as Trump mounts a third White House run. The committee received six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses from the Treasury Department last month.

Amazon to make big business changes in EU settlement

Amazon will make major changes to its business practices to end competition probes in Europe by giving customers more visible choices when buying products and, for Prime members, more delivery options. The EU’s executive Commission said Tuesday it accepted the legally binding commitments from Amazon to resolve two antitrust investigations. The deal allows the company to avoid a legal battle with the E.U.’s top antitrust watchdog that could have ended with potentially huge fines. In one big change, the company promised to give products from rival sellers equal visibility in the “buy box,” a premium piece of real estate on its website and app that leads to higher sales.

In a surprise move, Bank of Japan loosens bond yield cap

The Bank of Japan broadened caps for a benchmark government bond yield, a surprise move that pushed bond yields higher globally and dinged Asian stocks. The central bank on Tuesday said that it would allow the yield curve on the 10-year Japanese Government Bond to range 50 basis points either side of its 0% target, up from the previous cap of 25 basis points. It did not mention inflation in its policy statement, but inflation has been running above the central bank’s 2% target rate. Japan had been a holdout among major industrialized nations in allowing yields to rise. Europe nations and the U.S. have been hiking rates aggressively to battle inflation.

Racers, mechanics, tinkerers converting classic cars to EVs

DENVER (AP) — A small but expanding group of tinkerers, racers, engineers and entrepreneurs across the country are converting vintage cars and trucks into greener electric vehicles, in part due to recent advances in battery technology. Despite derision from some purists about the converted cars resembling golf carts or remote-controlled cars, many car enthusiasts are making electric powertrain conversions more mainstream. But there are hurdles. Conversions can cost more than $100,000, and classics often require other modifications to handle the weight of new batteries and the increased performance of electric motors. Companies are now racing to develop lighter batteries and components that make the process easier.

Elon Musk and Donald Trump: 2 disrupters face a reckoning

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump and Elon Musk share a reputation as disrupters. Now, they’re grappling with tribulations that may be unlike anything thrown at them before. Trump and Musk are known for their egos and have used Twitter to showcase their eccentricities. This week they face a reckoning, brought on in part by their relationship to the social media site now owned by Musk, the Tesla CEO. Trump is confronted with a congressional committee’s recommendation to the Justice Department that he be criminally prosecuted for his part in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by his supporters. Musk set up a Twitter poll in which most respondents said he should step down.

Stocks drift, bond yields jump after Japan surprises markets

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting on Wall Street, while bond markets around the world feel pain after a surprise move from Japan’s central bank cranked the pressure even higher on the already slowing global economy. The S&P 500 was 0.4% higher Tuesday after flipping between small losses and gains in early trading. The biggest action was in the bond market, where yields pushed higher after one of the world’s last bastions of super-low and economy-aiding interest rates made moves that could allow rates to climb more than otherwise. Higher rates slow the economy and drag down on prices for stocks and other investments.

Explosion rips through gas pipeline in Russia

MOSCOW (AP) — An explosion on a section of Europe-bound natural gas pipeline in western Russia has killed three people but hasn’t affected export supplies, officials said. The explosion ripped through a section of the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhhorod pipeline in the Chuvashia region during repair works on Tuesday. Regional authorities said that three repair workers were killed and one was injured by the explosion that sent a huge plume of burning gas high into the air. The regional branch of Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant said that volumes of gas transit weren’t affected by the blast as supplies have continued on parallel links.

Elon Musk Twitter poll ends with users seeking his departure

Millions of Twitter users asked Elon Musk to step down as head of Twitter in a poll the billionaire created and promised to abide by. But by Monday afternoon there was no word from Musk on whether he’ll step aside or who a new leader might be. Twitter has grown more chaotic and confusing under Musk’s leadership with rapidly vacillating policies that are withdrawn or altered. Many of the votes for Musk to step down likely came from Tesla investors, who have grown tired of the 24/7 Twitter chaos, which they say has distracted the eccentric CEO from the electric car company, his main source of wealth.

Musk’s Twitter rules: A dizzying, whiplash-inducing timeline

Since Elon Musk took control of Twitter in late October, confusion over what is, and what is not allowed on the platform, even what a verified account is, has run rampant. Rules and policies can change daily, or even hourly. Little of what’s transpired at Twitter in almost two months under Musk’s leadership has anything to do with what was originally his biggest complaint about the platform: the scourge of bots, or spam accounts. Here’s a rundown of some of the events, policy changes and confusion that has been a hallmark of Musk’s Twitter.

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